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Cranbrook Educational Community Announces New Director of Cranbrook Schools Horizons-Upward Bound

Lisa Reynolds Smoots to Succeed Darryl Taylor
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, January 14, 2021 – Dominic DiMarco, President of Cranbrook Educational Community, and Aimeclaire Roche, Director of Cranbrook Schools and incoming President of Cranbrook Educational Community, announced today the appointment of Lisa Reynolds Smoots as the new Director of the Cranbrook Schools Horizons-Upward Bound (HUB) Program.  

Smoots will succeed Dr. Darryl Taylor, who retired in 2020. She will start on April 16, 2021.

Cranbrook Schools Horizons-Upward Bound is one of the oldest and largest programs of its kind in the nation. It began at Cranbrook in 1965, and currently operates under the mission of preparing students from the Detroit Metropolitan area who have limited opportunities to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The program operates as a six-week residential program in the summer, and a Saturday program during the academic year. To date, it has served more than 2,800 students.

Smoots comes to Cranbrook from Church Farm School in Exton, Penn., where she has served as Director of Admission since 2017. Prior to her work at Church, Smoots served as Director of Enrollment Management at Cathedral School of St. John the Divine in New York, and as Associate Director of Middle School Admission at Princeton Day School.  

An accomplished engineer before moving into educational leadership, Smoots’ unique background also brings her skills in problem solving and operational efficiency to Cranbrook.

“We are excited by Lisa’s experience as an advocate for underrepresented students and students from under-resourced backgrounds; in both day and boarding environments, she has championed their ambitions and created programs that advance their academic outcomes,” said Roche. “Lisa is eager to build professional relationships and to empower each student our program serves, building on a remarkable legacy of success and dedication.”

Smoots holds a M.S. Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern.

“I am an educator who has committed her professional career to opening doors to academically underserved students,” says Smoots. “I look forward to bringing my expertise and over 16 years of experience to Cranbrook.”

With a 97 percent high school graduation rate, more than 98 percent of Horizons-Upward Bound graduates have been accepted at post-secondary institutions. Its alumni have gone on to universities and colleges such as Amherst, Harvard, Cornell, John Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, MIT, Howard University and many others. In the past 50 years, HUB has become the largest and most successful program of its kind in the United States, and the only one of more than 800 such programs based in an independent school.

“Dr. Taylor has created an incredible environment over the past 10 years, helping to ensure successful futures for hundreds of students who have risen through the program,” said DiMarco. “We are grateful to him for his years of exemplary service to Cranbrook and feel confident that Lisa is well-equipped to take up the mantle. We look forward to welcoming her to our community.”  

In her role at Cranbrook, Smoots will oversee the Horizons-Upward Bound program, but also work with the greater Cranbrook community to strengthen the connections between the HUB program and each of the other program areas on campus.

One of the world’s leading centers of education, science, and art, Cranbrook was founded in 1904 by George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth. Today, Cranbrook Educational Community is comprised of Cranbrook Academy of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, Cranbrook House & Gardens, Cranbrook Institute of Science, and Cranbrook Schools (pre-k through 12 independent college preparatory schools). Its National Historic Landmark campus is graced by architecturally significant buildings, outdoor sculpture, and natural and tended landscapes. The Cranbrook community receives more than 300,000 people annually, engaging learners of all ages and interests in educational programs and experiences.